Rock Piton

U.S. Army

Original Vintage U.S. Army Rock Piton

U.S. Army piton info from the internet:

- Pitons had never been made except by hand forging in certain remote European mountain districts. The Mountaineers' Exchange, of San Francisco, gave valuable assistance in the preparation of the design of a piton in the several different shapes needed and the Ames, Baldwin, Wyoming Company of Parkersburg, West Virginia undertook the piton manufacturing on a mass production basis. The making of pitons by machines proved to be a difficult undertaking and there were shortages in the types of steel desired. There were discouraging delays, but pitons which met initial tests were finally produced.

- U.S. AMES pitons date back to 1942.

- The manufacturers marks were stamped onto the first “AMES” Army pitons (1942-1944). From 1944 and on the manufacturers marks were painted onto the pitons to avoid weakening the metal.

- An estimated 75,000 pitons were driven by soldiers during training exercises at Seneca Rocks in 1943-1944.

From: Christian Beckwith:
- The first ring-ANGLE pitons were made in 10th mountain division era. These were also mild steel and only made in about 1/2" width, thick steel bent over--the ones we used to make ring angle hooks from. The engineering point here is that larger angle pitons do not work well if made from mild steel, as they flatten out if hammered into cracks. With Chrome Moly came the larger angle pitons, possibly Norton first. Angle pitons is another American invention, as I have talked with Hermann Huber who ran Salewa, and he told me that early experiments in Europe with angle pitons were not functional, as they preferred the mild-steel for their pitons, as limestone was a major rock type, and do not seem to have adopted chrome moly until probably later in 1950s.

U.S. Army pitons were coated in Cosmoline to preserve the pitons from weathering. It defiantly is a mess cleaning the pitons.


Cosmoline is the genericized trademark for a common class of brown, wax-like petroleum-based corrosion inhibitors, typically conforming to United States Military Standard MIL-C-11796C Class 3. They are viscous when freshly applied, have a slight fluorescence, and solidify over time with exposure to air.
Melting point: 113–125 °F

Size: 50 mm

Weight: 61 gr

Made in USA

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